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Gerichtslaube (Old Court House)

Freiburg is graced with not just one town hall but three. Read our text about the New Town Hall to learn how this situation developed over the years.

Old Court House Freiburg
Old Court House Freiburg - © Copyright FWTM-Escher

But we will share one spoiler with you. The Gerichtslaube, or 'Old Court House', is the oldest of Freiburg’s city government buildings. Located behind the Old Town Hall and opposite the Fasnetmuseum (Carnival Museum), the lovely gabled building was built out of sandstone in the late 13th to early 14th century.

The Gerichtslaube took on historic importance some 100 years later when King Maximilian I convoked the Reichstag in Freiburg in 1498. The sessions and festivities had actually been supposed to take place in the newly-built Kornhaus, which was much more spacious. However, the builders fell behind schedule, prompting the King to complain about the lack of space in the Gerichtslaube. In the early 16th century, the city decided to modify the building. A staircase was added to the large council room, connecting it to the other areas.

The buildings around the Rathausplatz were mostly destroyed during the bomb attack of 1944. Only the Gerichtslaube’s foundation walls, parts of the west wall and the archives wing survived. The beautiful staircase was badly damaged. Following the completion of the reconstruction in 1979, the Gerichtslaube now includes two rooms used for official receptions.

Insider info: In days gone by, the purity laws for wine were established in the Gerichtslaube, before the enactment of similar laws for beer.


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